Two DuBois Area School District employees recently received the Pennsylvania Association of School Retirees’ Lauretta Woodson Award, said substitute Superintendent Wendy Benton at last week’s school board work session.
Benton congratulated Officer in Charge and School Safety Coordinator Janice Bart and Wasson Elementary fourth grade teacher Heather Dzikiy for being the recipients of the award.
“This award is in recognition of their unselfish dedication and exemplary service to the DuBois Area School District and they were selected by members of the administrative team,” said Benton. “We’re very thankful to have them with us.”
Benton also recognized and thanked three high school students, Sarah Swope, Maryclaire Malizia and Emily Richards, for participating in the DuBois2Malawi African Library Project.
“These young ladies reached out to me a little earlier in the school year and requested permission to collect books because they are working on a project to start a library in Africa and they sent a thank you letter to us,” said Benton.
Benton said the students collected 411 books, which will be shipped in June.
“Their goal is to create a community library that will empower students and community members to become and stay literate, hoping to break the cycle of poverty,” said Benton. “ We couldn’t be more proud of these three young ladies. Pretty impressive.”
According to the students’ website detailing the project, the three sophomores said, “We want to start a library because education is a gift that repeats itself and leads to a brighter future. We have been very blessed to be able to attend good schools and have an abundance of books around us. We understand that many young people around the world do not have these same opportunities.”
Their website said in many African countries, children have to walk miles to get to overcrowded and under-equipped schools, if they get to go to school at all. These schools are often poorly equipped. They have only a few old books, maybe a chalkboard and a piece of chalk, and a teacher.
Students must bring their own pencils and paper, but many don’t have them. Over the summer, as Swope was going through her own books, she found a lot of children’s books/easy chapter books. As she was looking for places to donate these books, she found the African library project.
“After talking it over with her friends, we decided to run a book drive for a new African Library Project library in Malawi,” said the website.
It takes 1,000 books and $500 (plus a little elbow grease) to start a single library and make a huge difference in children’s lives, the website said.
For more information, visit the African Library Project website and search DuBois2Malawi African Library Project.